<font color="#808080">MURK, Martin R.</font>

More Martin R. Murk:    Federal Duck Stamp Print 

1928 - 2020)

Marty Murk was one of those rare persons who wore a perpetual smile and always saw the silver lining on every cloud. He and his wife, Vera, could not have been better matched; she has boundless energy and the patience of Job. Everyone, sometime during his lifetime should be fortunate enough to know the Murk's, or at least a couple similar to them.

Martin was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin on April 30, 1928. His parents, Adolph and Ada, encouraged his natural inclination toward art and by the time he was six years old he was creating pencil sketches and building model airplanes. He attended Columbus Grade School where he was called upon by his teachers to draw and color American frontier scenes of Indians and animals for the different classrooms.

At age fifteen, Marty decided to pursue his intense interest in aircraft and began taking flying lessons at the Kenosha Airport. He earned his student permit within a year.

In 1945, Marty and four of his buddies wanted to enlist in the military service. However, since all of them were underage and none of them could obtain parental consent, they signed each other's papers. The official notary public seal presented a slight problem, but not for long. Marty, who always was good with his hands, carved one backwards in hardwood and they "notarized" all five sets of papers. It took the U.S. Army exactly four days to discover the forgery and all the parents were duly notified. After much deliberation, all parents agreed that if the boys wanted to serve their country enough to go to those lengths then their wishes should be granted. All the parents signed the consent papers.

It was only natural for Marty to enter some branch of the service that had to do with airplanes, so he chose the paratroopers and wound up with the Occupation Forces in Japan with the Eleventh Airborne Division. The great beauty of that country made a lasting impression on Marty and influenced his art style.

After his hitch in the service was completed and with the aid of the G.I. Bill, he started flying again and also enrolled at the University of Wisconsin. He earned his Private Pilot's Certificate, but decided not to continue with his university studies.

Marty's innate artistic ability earned him a job as draftsman and later a position as product designer for the Simmons Company in his hometown. It was the chief designer of that company who recognized Marty's talent and encouraged him to go to art school.

Although the early years of free-lancing were difficult, his patience, persistence and his generally easygoing nature overcame and he established a foothold in the commercial art world, illustrating wildlife, livestock and children's books, as well as designing ads, brochures and annual reports.

A classic example of Marty's nature was demonstrated at a county fair a number of years ago. He and his youngest daughter, Nancy, were just aimlessly browsing when they wandered alongside a booth with a man selling ducklings. Nancy looked up at her father and said, "Daddy, can I have a duck?" Marty replied, "What are we going to do with a duck? We don't have a place to keep it. No, I don't think so."

After a few minutes of some deep soul-searching he asked himself, "Why can't she have a duck?" Leading Nancy by the hand, they returned to the booth with the ducklings and he let her choose one. She named it Waddles. Waddles remained part of the Murk household for eight years, and provided them with many light-hearted moments and lots of eggs.

Marty has been mildly active in community affairs. He created many stage sets for The Suburban Players, a local theatrical group. The first set he designed was for MUSIC MAN, and ten years later the set for the same play turned out to be his swan song.

Marty's hobbies were hunting, fishing, and collecting decoys. He was a member of Ducks Unlimited and the Safari Club International.

Russell Fink Gallery P. O. Box 250 Lorton, VA 22199
Voice: 703-550-9699 Fax: 703-339-6150